When people call us to remediate their mold in basement issues, they want to know what they can do to prevent mold inside their homes. Other than the obvious: no plumbing leaks, no water intrusion, etc, here are a few simple steps to keep in mind to keep mold out of your home.
Step 1 – Keep the moisture down. This falls under the above obvious conditions, such as leaks, but also another big source: humidity. High humidity inside your home makes it mold friendly and we don’t want that. If you aren’t one that runs your air conditioner too often, then look into getting a dehumidifier.
If you run your HVAC frequently, most of the time that will help dehumidify your home enough to where you won’t have a breeding ground for mold. Those who don’t run the HVAC much, need to get a dehumidifier and set it at 55%. You want to keep your indoor humidity under 60% to prevent mold growth. When the humidity rises above 60%, there’s enough moisture in the air that mold growth can easily occur.
Remember, mold needs moisture to grow and survive and high humidity is not good for your home. Ideally, the home would be between 35%-50%, but if you can at least keep it around 55%, you’re in good shape. To help you keep track, you can also buy an inexpensive meter that will measure your homes humidity.
Step 2 – Keep your house clean. Mold thrives in warm, damp bathrooms, humid kitchens, and closets with no air flow. Dirty and moist surfaces are breeding grounds for mold, clean surfaces are not. Run exhaust fans when taking a shower or cooking, and/or open a window. Hot steamy showers, or piping hot steam from a pan in the kitchen will raise the humidity and give mold the moisture it needs to become a problem.
Also, keep an eye out for refrigerator and ac drip pans and drain lines, door seals, trash cans, and dust buildup. Mold can thrive in these areas, so take the necessary steps to keep the moisture down and make sure to keep these surfaces clean and dry.
Step 3 – If you see mold, clean it up. If you see mold in your bathroom, on window sills, in the kitchen and it’s on a hard surface such as glass, plastic, or tile, clean it up. Use an anti-microbial spray from the store, or use distilled white vinegar and clean it. Leaving small amounts of mold in areas such as in the grout, or caulking, or around the windows, can easily turn into a much bigger problem if left alone and not cleaned up.
And most importantly, stop the source of its growth. In bathrooms and windows, make sure the tub, shower, toilet, and sinks are all sealed properly and if need be, wipe down the walls and counters in the bathroom if your hot shower has caused condensation.
Step 4 – Change your air filters and use the right kind. Every three months change your air filters. Buy an allergen defense filter that catches dust, lint, debris, AND mold spores. Spend the couple extra dollars on a good filter and keep it changed regularly. You’ll see a big difference in your air quality by limiting not only the dust, but you’ll be taking one more step to keep mold spores out of your home.
Follow these easy steps to keep your home cleaned, monitored, and the humidity down, and you can keep your home mold free.